Winter Squash Pimenton Preserved Lemon Soup makes a beautiful presentation.
During the winter when local produce is nearly non-existent, I buy a lot of my produce from a local Asian supermarket. The owner travels to Chinatown several times a week and brings back fresh Chinese green vegetables, along with daikon radishes, lemongrass, and kabocha squash, a member of the pumpkin family. Kabocha squash is high in fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C, so it’s a healthy addition to any menu. Usually, I prepare kabocha squash using Asian flavors in soup, a main course or dessert, but recently, I came across a recipe for Winter Squash Pimenton Preserved Lemon Soup that sounded intriguing.
When I spotted this recipe for Winter Squash Pimenton Preserved Lemon Soup by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, publishers of the Canal House cookbook series, it immediately caught my eye. You see, I happened to have a small stash of leftover preserved lemons (from making Dorie Greenspan’s Chicken in a Pot), and a kabocha squash that’s been sitting on my kitchen counter for about a month (they keep a long time, thankfully), so this recipe was the perfect answer to using up both ingredients. I hate throwing food away so when I find myself with odds and ends, I tend to keep an eye out for recipes that can use them up. The recipe also called for Pimenton, a Spanish Paprika that has a smokey quality and typically comes in different levels of heat – sweet, medium and hot.
I love the idea of cooking and serving the soup directly in a squash “bowl.” The presentation is rustic yet elegant. This past fall, I made a Beet and Apple Soup served in an acorn squash “bowl,” which made for a pretty presentation. This soup was particularly simple since all the ingredients were placed right inside the squash “bowl,” and then roasted in the oven. To serve, the inside flesh of the roasted squash bowl was gently scooped out along with the broth into bowls. This is a nice, light soup, smoky from the pimenton, balanced by the mellow preserved lemons and garlic. Definitely a clean healthy soup.
Today, a group of bloggers are celebrating two women, Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer (yes, this is a woman), who were named in Gourmet Live’s Top 50 Women Game Changers In Food. Although I had read about the Canal House a few years back in the New York Times, I did not know much about these two women until this week.
Ms. Hirsheimer was food and design editor of Metropolitan Home magazine for years, and one of the founding editors of Saveur, where she met Ms. Hamilton, a chef and restaurateur. Ms. Hersheimer has written four cookbooks on her own, and has been the photographer for cookbooks by Jacques Pepin, Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali and Rick Bayless.
Ms. Hamilton was a chef who worked as an editor and test kitchen director at Martha Stewart Living, Saveur and Cook’s Illustrated. These two women opened up the Canal House studio along the canal in Lambertville, New Jersey, in 2006 as a photo and design studio for cookbooks and magazines to begin with. Their love of gourmet home cooking lead them to self-publish a series of cookbooks, published three times a year.
The Canal House now serves as their workshop, dining room, office, and kitchen. Together, Ms. Hamilton (chef/food stylist/recipe developer/writer/illustrator) and Ms. Hersheimer (photographer/editor/writer) have self-published a series of seven Canal House cookbooks plus a book on Italian food so far which feature their rustic and seasonal cooking that reflect their belief that the “everyday practice of simple cooking and the enjoyment of eating are two of the greatest pleasures in life.” I would love to get my hands on one or more of the Canal House Cooking volumes. Each volume houses about 75 recipes featuring a single cuisine, e.g., Summer, Fall & Holiday, Winter & Spring, Farm Markets and Gardens, A Taste of Italy, and includes food photographs by Ms. Hersheimer and watercolor illustrations by Ms. Hamilton.
Winter Squash Soup with Pimenton and Preserved Lemon Recipe
- 1 kabocha squash about 2 pounds
- extra virgin olive oil for brushing
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon pimenton Spanish paprika
- 1 tablespoon preserved lemon rind finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put kabocha squash in microwave and cook on high for 1 minute. This will make it easier to cut off the top. Cut out a lid around the stem of the squash. Scrape out and discard the seeds and any stringy parts.
Place squash on lightly oiled baking sheet, including the lid. Brush the inside of the squash and the fleshy part of the lid with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and pimenton. Place lid flesh side down.
Add lemon rind, garlic and bay leave to cavity of squash. Fill squash halfway with stock.
Roast until flesh is soft when pierced with a sharp knife (be careful not to puncture skin of squash), about 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the squash.
Present soup for serving with lid on top of squash.
To serve, gently scrape flesh from sides and bottom of squash into bowls. Ladle broth into bowls.
If you’re interested in joining our group as we cook our way through this list of 50 influential women in food, just ask Mary from One Perfect Bite Please stop by and take a look at what the rest of the group made this week in celebration of Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer:
Annie from Most Lovely Things
Linda from There and Back Again
Val from More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne from Eats Well with Others
Taryn from Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan from The Spice Garden
Heather from girlichef
Miranda from Mangoes and Chutney
Mary from One Perfect Bite
Sue from The View from The Great Island
Barbara from Movable Feasts
Nancy from Picadillo
Kathleen from Bake Away With Me
Veronica from My Catholic Kitchen
Mireya of My Healthy Eating Habits
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook
Alyce – More Time at the Table
Amrita – Beetle’s Kitchen Escapades
For more recipes from this weekly celebration, check out my 50 Women Game Changers In Food Pinterest Board as well as our group’s collaborative Pinterest Board.
You always take such gorgeous shots of your chosen recipes Jeanette. Perfect choice to highlight these women.
Heather @girlichef says
This sounds fantastic. I love the combo of the preserved lemons, pimenton, and squash. That photo in the squash is just to die for.
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says
What a beautiful, nutrient rich soup. Your photos and presentation are stunning Jeanette.
Sue/the view from great island says
That squash bowl is so beautiful—I’ve been dying to experiment with the more exotic varieties. Your rustic version looks so deliciously simple, this has really inspired me, I’m heading to our winter farmer’s market tomorrow, I’m going to hunt down some interesting squash!
Alyce Morgan says
Adore this squash and like your takes on using it. My back porch has a nice variety of winter squash right now (including pumpkins I’ve saved) and I think I’ll try this one. Beautiful pics!
Cookin' Canuck says
What a gorgeous soup with really unique layers of flavor. I often find unusual fresh veggies in the local Chinese market – it’s time I made another visit.
Thanks everyone for your comments! The squash does provide a naturally beautiful vessel to serve the soup from doesn’t it?
juniakk @ mis pensamientos says
i love kabocha~! i usually just steam and eat. i think i can eat the entire squash by myself. i love how flavorful it is yet lower in carbs unlike the other winter squashes. i like it when the kabocha is more potato-like in texture rather than squash like! i think the trick is getting a darker kabocha versus a light green one!
Junia, I do like the consistency of Kabocha Squash. That’s interesting that the darker kabocha squashes might be better than the lighter ones. Thanks for sharing.
Lemons and Anchovies says
What a delicious way to use up ingredients you already had. I would not have thought put them together but your pictures tell such a different story. I like both ways you prepared them. 🙂
They do look like two completely different soups don’t they, one rustic, the other more refined, but both delicious.
Angie@Angie's Recipes says
This sounds really flavourful and pleasant!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits says
I’ve never tried kobocha, but I’m going to have to try it know. It really makes a nice presentation served as a bowl.
I would so have this for breakfast, too. (And lunch and dinner) Winning soup and beautifully presented. Now I just wished I had some preserved lemons sitting around…
veronica gantley says
What a great idea to serve that in the squash. What a great presentation. I agree very elegant and smart I always thought you should garnish what you use in the recipe. You took it to a whole new level. I will have to try this sometime. Thanks for sharing with us.
Norma Chang says
Kabochi squash, one of my favorites, it has such a nice texture. Beautiful presentations and photos, really like the bowl of pureed..
This look so good. It’s just moved to the top of my to-do list. You picked a terrific recipe to represent the work of the Canal House women. It is fresh, simple and beautiful to look at. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary
This soup looks delicious…squash soups are a favorite of mine! Love the different flavors that were added…Yum!
Just printed your recipe…I have to make it!
France @ Beyond The Peel says
I’ve been looking for great ways to use my preserved lemons. I think this sounds so lovely and different from the Moroccan flavors I have been working with.